Association of


Railway Modellers

Reports prior to October 2022 can be found here.

Below are the most recent reports.

Modelling the Midland in Scale 7 - David Hunt

There can be few better ways to start the month than being treated to a presentation on railway modelling by someone who really knows their onions, or in this case the Midland Railway. Like many of us, David Hunt began model making in his childhood in the late 1950s early ‘60s. His home was near Edgehill and he was able to spend time with several uncles who were employed by the railway in various capacities. Inspiration was plentiful but on a simpler level he chose the Midland because he ‘liked red engines’. A pause in modelling to pursue the usual distractions that influence one’s late teens was followed by enrolment in the RAF and a spell in the Netherlands. In the ‘70s David returned to the UK and dabbled in both 2mm and 4mm, his first kit for which was a 990 class 4-4-0 by GEM. This presented plenty of challenges but did not deter him from tackling a second GEM kit in the form of a Kirtley 0-6-0. Any modeller that builds locos from scratch will admit that kits are the gateway drug and David soon found himself scratchbuilding a 0-4-4 tank engine. However, he found that the best scale to accurately capture the level of detail he was aiming for was 7mm.

O finescale was a good starting point and after meeting David White he built some locomotives for the latter’s Matlock Bath layout as well as becoming a director of Slaters Plastikard and working on developing the Company’s 7mm products. By now David was fully invested in modelling the Midland and friendships with the likes of Bob Essery, led to him becoming involved with the founding the Midland Society (as chairman he was at the helm for no less than a quarter of a century in two stints), and publishing numerous books on Midland and LMS locos as well as major contributions to Journals and Magazines too numerous to mention. At this stage he began modelling in S7 and contributed to several notable layouts, particularly Bob Essery’s ‘Dewsbury’, but by the late 1990s having given so much to establish, run, educate, and generally spread the word about the Midland and Scale 7 he still had no decent layout of his own creation.

On leaving the RAF in 2005 he felt it was time to build his own showpiece. A 35ft x 20ft shed was constructed in the back garden and a start made, baseboards were built, and tracklaying was coming on well until the decision was made to move house. Sadly, trackwork had to be taken up, baseboards dismantled, and everything packed away ready for the move…which never happened! Unfortunately, his heart was no longer into committing so much energy into building a layout and so he continued researching, writing, publishing, and creating beautiful individual models in S7 until a decision was made to bite the bullet. A Midland MPD to display and run his by now large collection of locomotives and rolling stock seemed to be the best choice, not over ambitious but a good showcase for his work. He made contact with Martin Wynne and learned TEMPLOT, a process he admits was not easy, but the results were well worth the time invested. Adrian Tester created some excellent Midland rail chairs and the many tracklaying tools designed for S7, available through the S7 group, proved their worth and Westfield Shed c.1906 began to take shape. Although most of the buildings for the layout were made by David, Richard Ellis of Monk’s Gate Models laser cut the beautiful locomotive shed measuring an impressive 4ft 6in x 2ft 6in. David’s track-making was put to the test with stunning 3 way point-work, the scale flangeways proving one of the benefits of S7 over O finescale by being over 1mm narrower . Authentic ballasting right up to rail level has also been possible owing to the finer exact-to-scale tolerances offered by S7. 3D printing has also been employed on Westfield, perfect for such details as the water tank panels and coal tubs.

As with all layouts there is still much to do on Westfield before David can finally call it complete but in the meantime we can follow progress in the model press, (the Model Railway Journal in particular), and be inspired by his legendary knowledge and paramount modelling skills.


Chris Cox.